Like most, I get a little irritable when I’m hot. My hair sticks to the back of my neck. My clothes start to cling to me and I get those annoying little beads of sweat on my upper lip. It’s not a pretty picture trust me. And to top it off … I don’t have air-conditioning!
Think about it. Almost 90 percent of U.S. households; including businesses have air-conditioning of some sort. Add to this our vehicles or modes of transportation, most of these have air-conditioning too. We are literally walking from air-conditioning to air-conditioning with short lapses in between. You know, store to car to home. Work to car to home. Work to gym to home. See what I mean? We are only in heat for just short spans of time.
The reason I don’t have air-conditioning is by design. When we moved – took that huge leap of faith – from a big metropolitan city to a little podunk town (no disrespect intended) and built our homestead, we purposely did not include central air (or heat). I mean, the whole purpose of living on a homestead was to learn to be more self-sufficient after all.
The thing a lot of people aren’t considering in their preps … is being without air-conditioning. Something, we all need to practice a little more of. Drive home from work with the windows rolled down – baby steps. And not just on a nice day (cheater).
I have learned lots of different ways to keep cool and you can start practicing a lot of these too – home or homestead heat does not discriminate.
We built our house with high ceilings, installed solar exhaust fans in the attic, keep our shades closed during the day; opening them back up at night for a great cross breeze, we leave all the doors inside open to allow air flow, we built a summer kitchen to cook outdoors in the summer to help minimize the heat, and have a basement that stays far cooler than upstairs to relax in, but there are also a lot of things we do to keep ourselves cool outside too.
We start our workday outside working on the west side of the property in the morning and gradually work our way to the east side after lunch. As the sun moves so do we.
Because, it is important to keep your body cool, I make cool collars to wear around our necks. They are easy-peezy to make. Just take a piece of scrape fabric 1 ½ inches by 28 inches and sew a long tube. Secure one end, and in the other pour a tablespoon full of plant moisture gel and then secure the other end. Wet it down and put it on your neck. You can also make gel wrist bands too using Velcro. It’s amazing how good these feel against your skin.
We also wear hats, wide brimmed hats specifically, with ventilation holes (most of our body heat escapes out of our noggins so you don’t want that hot air trapped next to your head.) Hats keep the sun off our heads, face, ears and shoulders. Sure working under a nice shaded tree is good, and would be better if we could get it to move around with us…a feat I haven’t had much success with – so I’m still wearing a hat. My dad actually wore a solar hat with a fan built in – kinda like a safari hat – if you search you can find them on-line. They’re pretty cool, er neat.
For clothes, we wear lightweight, loose-fitting shirts and pants; long sleeves for the shirts so we don’t fry in the sun and get all nicked up in the thorn bushes. As for color, the jury is still out on that one? Some say white, some say black, some say light, and some say dark. The key is loose fitting, non-clingy clothes - color I guess is optional.
And also we keep ourselves hydrated by drinking lots of water. We don’t wait until we’re thirsty to drink we have a bottle secured to a belt loop or belt and take periodic slips of cool water all day long.
At night before bed, some will mist their sheets with water from a spray bottle to stay cool as they sleep, we don’t do this. Instead, we take a cool shower or wash up with cool water right before going to bed. I also add a little talcum powder to the bed sheets to keep us dry and comfortable, and sometimes will go to bed with my hair wet. I have also heard of people wetting their night clothes before going to bed. Haven’t tried that one! (I’d be afraid I would wake up in the morning and think I wet the bed …)
Truthfully, it takes time to acclimate your body to heat. As I said before you need to start practicing – even in a city or suburban setting. Yes it’s going to be challenging, but everything about an “end of the world as we know it” scenario will be.
Okay, go wet down a washcloth; put it over your face and start working your “hand’ fans. Now that’s real air conditioning!
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